AMMAN: Jordan Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour says the kingdom will shut its border with Syria in case of violence or a mass exodus of refugees if President Bashar Al Assad’s regime collapses.
Ensour says that rather than taking in another “surge in the number of Syrian refugees when the regime collapses,” Jordan would dispatch special forces to “secure safe havens for the Syrians inside their country.”
Ensour did not speculate on the prospects of the fall of Syria’s strongman but said Jordan has had “no contacts” with Assad’s regime in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, a fire in a centre for refugees who fled the Syrian civil war killed seven members of a family, a civil defense spokesman said on Wednesday, the latest tragedy to befall tens of thousands who escaped the violence in Syria only to face difficult winter conditions in camps across the border in Jordan.
A kerosene heating unit accidentally flipped over, spreading kerosene on the ground and causing a huge blaze, said Colonel Fareed Sharaa.
“The fire spread quickly to floor mattresses, where the refugee family was sleeping, killing all its members,” Sharaa said in a written statement.
He said four others from a different family were hospitalised with burns.
Police said there was no immediate information on the identity of those killed and whether any relatives survived.
Sharaa said the kerosene heaters are used in caravans in the King Hussein Gardens in Ramtha on the border with Syria. The site is a temporary shelter for refugees as their identity is being established before they are moved to a nearby desert camp.
Another Syrian refugee who swapped deadly violence in Damascus for destitution in Lebanon hanged himself on Tuesday.
“He told us he was going to buy dinner for the children. Later, we searched for him in the house, and found him hanging from a noose upstairs,” said his wife Rima Bakkar, who suffered a nervous breakdown after finding her husband dead.
Sitting inside Ain Al Helweh’s Al Aqsa hospital, Melsi’s grief-stricken widow broke down as she recounted the family’s story.
“Mohammed suffered a lot recently and was very disappointed by the lack of opportunities here in the camp. He tried to earn a livelihood to support us, but was unsuccessful,” said Rima.